MULTAN, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistani security forces say they raided militant hideouts in two different operations in former Taliban strongholds in North Waziristan Saturday, killing eight Islamic militants.

In a statement, the military said the two intelligence-based operations in Boya and Dosali areas killed three commanders of the Pakistani Taliban, in an exchange of fire with security forces.

The military said the slain local Taliban commanders were involved in militant activities against security forces and civilians.

Pakistani militants have in recent months stepped up their activities in the region, raising fears they were regrouping in the area, which was a former Taliban stronghold.

The North and South Waziristan districts served as the main base for local and foreign militants until the military secured the region in 2015. But militants still show their presence by attacking security forces sporadically.